Alan Brown: Between the Spaces (Ode)

 |   |  1 min read

Alan Brown: Phonology
Alan Brown: Between the Spaces (Ode)

New Zealand keyboard player Alan Brown -- who has previously been in Blue Train and is currently in the Grand Central Band -- is on record saying that rather than writing a jazz album he wanted all his influences, classical to electronica and rock, to find their voice with his quartet for this release.

And with saxophonist Nathan Haines guesting and string players alongside guitarist Andy Smith, bassist Marika Hodgson and drummer Jono Sawyer, he can quite comfortable tick the "mission accomplished" box -- although this is still squarely in the jazz idiom.

The discrete pieces here are sometimes cool like the soundtrack to an intellectual film (State of Mind with Haines on soprano), nightclub funky in the manner of Blue Train in the Nineties (The Dancer and Chess, Sustainable Resources) or distinctly edgy (Broken Dreams) and there is also an elegant sophistication underpinning them even when -- as on the more urgent Do Not Track and Seventies-styled jazz-rock of Phonology -- the tempo kicks up and, guitarist Smith in particular, they offer influences from the rock end of the spectrum.

One of the most interesting pieces among the many which command attention is Hashra'ah which, with its thoughtful piano introduction suggesting contemporary classical influences before easing through a central section which takes off on hypnotic tangents, wouldn't sound out of place on any classy European jazz release.

From the opener Sounding Out (a title which rather undersells itself) to the string trio-coloured Epilogue (which is preceded by the exploratory, eight minute-plus Tableau), this is a world class, sometimes elegant and always diverting collection of originals where the hallmarks are quality playing and a singular commitment of purpose by Brown and his younger colleagues.

Very smart stuff. Recommended.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

Anouar Brahem: Le Voyage de Sahar (ECM/Ode)

Anouar Brahem: Le Voyage de Sahar (ECM/Ode)

Tunisian Brahem who plays oud --- like a slack-string lute -- steers another fine album under his own name on ECM, a label with a reputation for meticulously produced if sometime emotionally... > Read more

SEB ROCHFORD OF POLAR BEAR INTERVIEWED (2010): Always give a job to a busy man

SEB ROCHFORD OF POLAR BEAR INTERVIEWED (2010): Always give a job to a busy man

For a man who can make a big noise and very often, drummer Seb Rochford of the innovative UK jazz quartet Polar Bear (and many other side-projects) is very quietly spoken. It is 10.30am and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

James' authentically Thai chicken

James' authentically Thai chicken

James Lantana -- more correctly Somsak Lantana -- once my Thai neighbour, was a chef back home, came to New Zealand almost 20 years ago with his beautiful Japanese wife Nana, and has worked in... > Read more

The Beatles: Love You To (1966)

The Beatles: Love You To (1966)

After having listened through to all George Harrison's solo albums and writing about them, one conclusion is paramount. That for all that his lyrics could sometimes be sermonising, trite, worthy or... > Read more